Related Reviews
The Times
4 Stars
Prom 6: 'Brilliant music, this; masterful music-making as well.'
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BachTrack
4 Stars
Prom 6: '...the BBCNOW’s strings really shone in those moments of rich writing...'
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The Arts Desk
Prom 6: 'The result was a moment of almost Mozartean elegance: clean, precise and quite, quite beautiful.'
more >>
The Telegraph
4 Stars
Prom 6: '...in Søndegård’s hands the bombast seemed radiant, and moving.'
more >>
Evening Standard
4 Stars
Prom 5: '...there was a strong sense of the organic growth that makes this compact work so mysterious.'
more >>
The Independent
4 Stars
Prom 5: '...the BBC National Orchestra of Wales [was] in top form under Thomas Sondergard’s direction...'
more >>
BachTrack
4 Stars
Prom 5: '...a clean and ringing sound that rendered Sibelius' orchestral writing transparent but wonderfully warm.'
more >>
Limelight
'This project cycle should appeal to those who like their Sibelius cool, crisp and bracing.'
more >>
Gramophone
'Another disc with a live feel, this Sibelius coupling with the BBC NOW under Thomas Søndergård will bring out the best in any well-matched [hi-fi] set-up.’
more >>
Klassik
5 Stars
Audiophiles Highlight: 'Das ist kein bukolisches Rauschen nordischer Wälder, sondern eher ein Ausloten von Seelenlandschaften. Das verklärte En de des Werks stellt daher nicht nur das zu erwartende frohe Ende dar, es scheint vielmehr fast eine Art Erlösung zu symbo lisieren.'
more >>
Fono Forum
5 Stars
,,Das ist kein bukolisches Rauschen nordischer Wälder, sondern eher ein Ausloten von Seelenlandschaften.''
more >>
Classical Candor
'Sondergard's rendering of it is, frankly, gorgeous, one of the most brilliant, moving performances I've heard.'
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Applaus
'Das ist die perfekte CD für Sibelius-Einsteiger wie auch für den Kenner, der schon Referenzaufnahmen im Regal stehen hat, denn es stimmt alles: der ganz spezifische Klang in perfekter Balance, die Tempi, die Spannungsbögen.'
more >>
Classics Today
4½ Stars
'Søndergård gets it right...if this is the first disc in a planned cycle, it looks like it's going to be a very good one.'
more >>
Classics Today France
4 Stars
'Qui veut un Sibelius bien enregistré en SACD multicanal trouvera ici un produit de choix.'
more >>
Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'Two Sibelius gems superbly played and recorded.'
more >>
Sinfini Music
'[Sondergard's Seventh Symphony] feels nicely organic with some delectable moments of musical blossoming, not least towards the signature trombone solo.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'...intense and rigorous...'
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Scene Magazine
'The immersive Nordic soundscapes of Jean Sibelius' aural world are immaculately rendered on this release from Linn.'
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Pizzicato
4 Stars
'Thomas Sondergard gives Sibelius's Second Symphony a very expressive character, while the Seventh is deeply reflective. Excellent playing by the BBC Symphony Orchestra of Wales. The recorded sound matches the excellence of the performances.'
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Robert Music Blog
'The performance of the 2nd is sublime.'
more >>
The Sunday Times
'The BBC National Orchestra of Wales here shows itself to be in fine fettle, offering cogent, clear-textured performances.'
more >>
Politiken
4 Stars
'[Sondergard] livtag med Sibelius’ 2. Symfoni matcher nogle af de bedste...Kombinationen af klarhed, varme og Sibelius’ svimlende symfoniske vidder, som de langsomt samler sig i symfoniens stadig større, bjergtagende landskabsagtige panoreringer, er flot.'
more >>
Herald Scotland
'I can only welcome, with fast-beating heart, one of the great new Sibelian teams into the record business with the debut recording on Linn Records of Sibelius's Second and Seventh Symphonies by Thomas Sondergard and his BBC National Orchestra of Wales.'
more >>
ResMusica
'Thomas Søndergård impose un Sibelius direct et franc du collier, simplement musical et granitique, mais qui s'avère inspiré et sain.'
more >>
The Telegraph
4 Stars
'The BBC NOW, recorded in the warm, clear acoustics of the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, responds keenly to the way that Søndergård subtly controls aspects of tempo, instrumental balance and the shifting of mood to create a genuine sense of the music's organically conceived nature.'
more >>
AllMusic
5 Stars
'The comparatively lush orchestration of the Symphony No. 2 probably has never sounded better in any recorded format.'
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
'Thomas Søndergård has a deserved reputation as a fine conductor...there's also much deft and accurate detail...'
more >>

Thomas Sondergard - Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7 - InfoDad


02 April 2015
InfoDad
4 Stars

Cogency and thoughtfulness are also the hallmarks of the start of a new Sibelius cycle featuring the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Thomas Søndergård. The first Linn Records disc in this series offers an outstanding Symphony No. 2 and a less-special but nevertheless very well-done Symphony No. 7. In the Second, Søndergård's pacing sounds inevitable: each movement proceeds at what seems to be just the right tempo or set of tempos, with the result that the work ebbs and flows stylishly and with a sense of constant unfolding. Søndergård is particularly strong in the second movement, using rubato (which is called for in the tempo indication) judiciously and carefully to build the effectiveness of the music; the result is that the third movement, Vivacissimo, produces an even more-intense contrast than usual, propelling the musical argument along strongly and helping make the finale a true capstone. The orchestra's playing is warm, sensitive and knowing here, and the strength of the overall interpretation is aided significantly by the musicians' clear sensitivity to Sibelius' penchant for abrupt changes that, cumulatively, are highly effective in producing a mood of triumphal strength and a kind of defiance. The Seventh comes across almost as well. Originally seen by the composer as a fantasia, this single-movement symphony works best when it breaks down into individual sections while at the same time sounding cohesive throughout. Søndergård's interpretation is a touch on the disconnected side: he highlights the changes in tempo and mood very effectively, but at the expense of an overall feeling of cohesion - a feeling, ironically, that he attains in the Second despite the distinct differences within and among that work's four movements. The orchestra's playing in the Seventh is, however, just as fine as in the Second, and Søndergård's approach shows the ways in which Sibelius made individual portions of the Seventh stand out from others, not only through obvious tempo differences but also with subtle changes in rhythm, orchestration and emphasis. The very fine recorded sound of the disc enhances the performances throughout and indicates that Søndergård's entire Sibelius cycle stands fair to be an excellent one.


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Related Links

BBC National Orchestra of WalesBBC National Orchestra of Wales
Thomas SondergardThomas Sondergard
Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7